History of Garbage Dispoals:
How could plumbing be controversial? One plumbing invention has had advocates and critics: the kitchen garbage disposal unit.
According to Wikipedia, the inventor is an architect in Wisconsin. But that is disputed. GE claims to have invented it at about the same time (1920s/1930s). The company formed by the Wisconsin architect, InSinkErator, still exists and leads the industry.
It caught on after World War II in the U.S., as other kitchen modern conveniences became more common. But some cities outlawed them. Their concern was the environmental impact of food being in the water waste. But now there is as much concern over the greenhouse gas impact of food waste in landfills.
The popularity of garbage disposals grew in the 1980s. Wikipedia says the number of households with them by 2009 is 50% in the United States. Only 6% of houses in the UK have them, and only 3% in Canada.
Some have said they are a high source of calls to plumbers, which have turned some away from them.
An InSinkErator spokesperson says that advances have been made and many of the criticisms are based on improper use and misconceptions.
How to Use a Garbage Disposal Unit Properly:
Step 1 - Run cool water in the sink for a few seconds. The cool water prevents any small amount of fat on or in the food from liquefying so that it doesn't stick to the pipes.
Step 2 - Start the disposal motor and run it a few seconds.
Step 3 - Put the food scraps in gradually. One of the reasons problems develop is when too much is put into the disposer at one time.
Step 4 - Continue to run the cool water a few seconds after food has been broken down. This flushes the particles out of the pipes.
There you have it. Super simple.
Avoiding Problems with the Garbage Disposal by What You Put in It:
Most of the calls to plumbers over garbage disposal problems is from what was put in it. One time, we were called to a house because a lady put plastic bags into her garbage disposer.
First, never pour fats, oils, or grease down any sink, whether there is a garbage disposal unit or not. It clogs pipes. Just don't do it.
All other food waste is ok to put into the disposal unit. And yes, that includes coffee grounds and eggshells. Just put these in gradually and have a strong flow of water with it. We don't want them to settle in the pipes.
Should I Get a Garbage Disposer with a Septic Tank:
Like other questions, this is controversial. The plumbing code allows garbage disposal units to be used with septic tanks. But, some septic tank owners recommend against it. Some say it's ok, as long as it's not used too much.
We say it's ok as long as the garbage disposal unit is used correctly and the septic tank is maintained properly.